If A Miracle Happens In A Forest…
So there it was. I was in the North Woods of Wisconsin at a family 50th wedding anniversary. No TVs, barely a cell phone reception and the knowledge that likely a John Shurna-less ‘Cats team was facing the #1 team in the nation. The game had surely ended. I escaped from the party for a moment to find a cell zone to check the score. It was as peaceful as could be as a steady snowfall in a bucolic setting seemed to comfort what was about to be the realization that we lost by 40 or so. I scrolled down the ESPN feature on my Iphone. WHAT?!!! 58-57?!!! It must be a typo. Holy crap – we nearly beat the #1 team in the nation! What in God’s name happened?
So, on to the recap. So, it was the old school, Princeton offense of limiting possessions. Holy smokes, Juice went nuts in this game! Capocci stepped up big time – how the heck did he battle Sullinger and still manage 11 points? Wait – we had the ball – tied with :30 to go and didn’t get a shot off? Ugh. Sullinger was fouled and missed the front end of the 2-shot foul with 3.5 to go? Man, the pain is starting to seep in even though I had zero emotional ties to watching this game. My head was spinning of what the student section and the arena must have been like during the epic comeback. And alas, I sat there with empathy for Bill Carmody. How many times will the program get THAT close to THE moment and of course, fall THIS short. I somehow was able to rationalize how lucky I was to not endure the pain of the 16th consecutive loss (with no wins) against a #1. The allure of playing a #1 on national TV is always intoxicating. However, without our star, John Shurna, to come this close is a feat that I can’t understand.
Does this mean our team doesn’t bring it in the least on other nights? Was it a perfect storm of curveball tempo that kept us alive? Should we be resorting to it again on Saturday against Illinois? Will we ever get to enjoy the sweet taste of success for any prolonged period of time in this program? Man, I could not wish the journey of being an NU hoops fan upon my worst enemy. I was so proud of our program and Carmody some 7 hours away in the middle of nowhere. I screamed loudly in the snow insulated forest. I don’t think anyone heard it and I know no one cares. But we do.
And in other hoops news, a day after our near upset, St. John’s trounced #3 Duke. All of a sudden that late December loss, which seemed like a runaway win until JerShon got bodyslammed, now looks like it would’ve been a big time significant win. And don’t look now, but our annual house of horrors trip to Penn State will be especially tough as the Nittany Lions slayed another Big Ten ranked opponent at home, this time Wisconsin on Saturday.